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  1. #1
    on the hard road....... SteveJ's Avatar
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    Concerned how my Brooks B17 is breaking in

    Multiple threads posted today by me in various forums all relate around this concern.

    Ok i bought a new B17 for my Trek 520 probably a month or more ago. Sure it was hard for a while and yes i was sore also for a while but i thought it was breaking in pretty well. I could see the dents appearing where my sit bones would be.

    Late last week i went for my first trip to test out my gear. Day 1 i did 130km which included a very long and steep climb which really took it out of me. Anyhoo i camped one nite, then did another 80km the next day to my next location. Was a pretty hard ride where i found i was very sore for the first hour almost and then the pain sort of went away.

    Anyhoo camped another nite then i had just a 70km ride home. Well the pain was shocking again for about another hour before it settled down. I got home on the Saturday morning and haven't been back on the bike since.

    Even now almost a week later i can still feel my sit bones, they are getting better though.

    On checking out my saddle closer they two dents are quite pronounced, probably more on one side than the other. My concern is that they are really far back on the saddle, and i suspect they overlap the rear metal support frame. If you run your finger along one dent you can actually feel the metal frame under it.

    Which i'm wondering if this is the cause of my discomfort?

    The Trek is quite a big size so it's a roomy frame, i have the saddle back as far as the rails will allow and yet my sit marks are still really towards the back end of the saddle.

    is this normal?

  2. #2
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fit issue of some kind. Can you take a pic of yourself on the bike from the side with the leg the camera can see as far down as the pedal will go?

    That would help.

    My first instinct would be to try a longer stem, a handlebar with more reach, or both.

    A second thing to consider is a seatpost with more setback.

    You also might want to try putting something thin in the shoe of your short leg,
    you mentioned one side was different.

    If a local shop has a fitting service, you could also try that.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  3. #3
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I had a friend who rode her Brooks 6000 miles and never could get it broken in properly. She said the same thing - like she was sitting in the bar rather than the leather. Maybe she needed a different model or whatever - but she switched to an entirely diferent saddle.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    A second thing to consider is a seatpost with more setback.
    This might be your solution.

    BTW - it's normal for your dents to look different. Very few of us are built perfectly evenly. I'm quite lopsided, and my dents show it! But that's the beauty of the Brooks saddle ... it becomes customized to you.

    If you're not experiencing knee or ankle pain, do not put anything into your shoe. That could set you up for more problems.

  5. #5
    on the hard road....... SteveJ's Avatar
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    Well no i've had no back or knee pain, which is something i normally associate with having the bike not set up quite right.
    I'm not that concerned about the difference between my dents, just the fact they are so far back. i've got the saddle as far back as possible.
    can you get "laybacks" for road bikes?

  6. #6
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    The Brooks B17 has quite a bit if rise from the midpoint to the back of the saddle. They're also somewhat slick because of the smooth leather. Those two characteristics cause you to either slide forward or sit on the very back end. Most people to adjust them such that the nose is pointed slightly up in the air, thus leveling off a larger platform on the back end of the saddle. This creates something of a "hammock" for your butt to ride in. It works ok that way as long as you don't want to ride in the drops for any length of time.

  7. #7
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    I have 3 Brooks B-17 saddles. I never ride them un-covered in the rain. I use SnoSeal instead of Proofide on them. I weigh around 200 pounds (give or take 5).

    That being said, the one with the most use has just over 4,000 miles on it. The sit indentations are now visible. I'm not sure if it's still breaking in.

    The one with the second most use has just over 1,200 miles on it. The sit indentations are NOT visible, and it is NOT anywhere near broken in.

    I love my Brooks saddles, and I wouldn't give them up without a fight. However, I am dumbfounded by those who say a Brooks can be broken in in 1000 miles or less... that hasn't been anything like my experience.
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  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    I have 3 Brooks B-17 saddles. I never ride them un-covered in the rain. I use SnoSeal instead of Proofide on them. I weigh around 200 pounds (give or take 5).

    That being said, the one with the most use has just over 4,000 miles on it. The sit indentations are now visible. I'm not sure if it's still breaking in.

    The one with the second most use has just over 1,200 miles on it. The sit indentations are NOT visible, and it is NOT anywhere near broken in.

    I love my Brooks saddles, and I wouldn't give them up without a fight. However, I am dumbfounded by those who say a Brooks can be broken in in 1000 miles or less... that hasn't been anything like my experience.
    When you've got very obvious sitbone indentations in your saddle, and the saddle looks quite different from when you bought it, then it is broken in.

    I developed my indentations in the middle of a VERY rainy 1000K randonnee. I'd been riding the saddle for 800 km in total ... 400 km on that 1000K, and 400 km on shorter rides prior. I was a bit concerned about the indentations when they first developed because they were deep, but when the saddle dried they tightened up ... and the saddle was perfect.

  9. #9
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    When I made my post, I included detail in how I broke/am breaking in my Brooks saddles. I don't know if my experience has been different than others because: 1- I didn't use proofide (I used a different bees wax product that is essentially the same) or 2- because I NEVER get them wet, damp yes, but not wet.

    Machka, I respect and value your opinion and experiences. I bet your's broke in so well because of the exposure to water.
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  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hopperja View Post
    When I made my post, I included detail in how I broke/am breaking in my Brooks saddles. I don't know if my experience has been different than others because: 1- I didn't use proofide (I used a different bees wax product that is essentially the same) or 2- because I NEVER get them wet, damp yes, but not wet.

    Machka, I respect and value your opinion and experiences. I bet your's broke in so well because of the exposure to water.
    Very likely. I'm not sure I would necessarily recommend that method ... especially not to larger riders ... but if a person is having a bit of trouble with the break in process, it might be worth heading out to ride in the rain. Personally, I can't help but ride in the rain ... I seem to be the Rain Queen. 9 times out of 10 when I get on my bicycle ... it rains.

  11. #11
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    Instead of the rain or your rear, use your arms to break in the saddle. I mounted mine on an old seat post clamped in a large vise, loaded it up with Proofhide and wailed away at it with an old wooden police baton. I tightened the tension up, put some more Proofhide on, let it set a couple of days, and repeated. After a couple of weeks, all the leather is soft and you need to use the tension nut to keep from bottoming out on the rails. I've ridden Brooks for over 30 years and never had any pain from my saddles.

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